SRF Program

  • Early Learning is Fun (ELF) Play and Learn Groups

    VEYLDF Alignment

    Item uses these practice principles: High expectations for every child, Respectful relationships and responsive engagement.

    Item responds to these sub-outcomes: Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing.


    ELF is a universal and a targeted early intervention and engagement program for vulnerable families with children aged from birth to five years. It was initially conceived in 2003 as a state-wide education campaign designed to promote community and family awareness about the importance of learning and literacy in the early years.

    ELF focuses on the critical role that play has in optimising children’s development and enhancing  healthy parent–child interactions.

    Detailed Costs

    The cost to run an ELF playgroup program is $98,453 per year.

    Implementation Considerations

    Target population: children and families experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage, including families from a refugee background and children at risk of abuse and neglect in child protection and family support systems.

    Program/practice descriptions and details: ELF focuses on the critical role that play has in optimising children’s development and enhancing and growing healthy parent-child interactions.
    Supervision/coaching: trained facilitators are employed to deliver this model at kindergarten services. Through this program it is also possible that an existing teacher at the service could be trained to co-facilitate the program.

    Staffing: the ELF playgroups are facilitated by an experienced early childhood teacher and a social worker who are employed externally to the kindergarten service. Services may need to consider how staff will organise their time to run this program, with consideration of extra working hours and backfill costs.

    Factors to consider: services may be able to identify a number of families that would benefit from this program. It would be most beneficial to run ELF within a kindergarten setting, out of session time, as it brings families into the kindergarten space.

    Australian experience: there have been numerous ELF playgroups run in Victoria in the last 15 years. Most recently in Fitzroy, Lalor and Thomastown. ELF has been rolled out by Berry Street in partnership with other service providers including ECMS. The two groups running in Lalor and Thomastown are still active and have been run in partnership with ECMS as a universal service provider.

    Strength of Evidence

    Not able to be rated